We all have too much stuff and need to purge from time to time but very few people are able to live without some of their trophies, souvenirs and memorabilia. Even the most ardent declutterer has difficulty parting with their children’s toys and artwork.
I think of myself as a collector rather than a pack rat or hoarder. Every three or four months, I go on a cleaning spree and toss some of my stuff. Recently, I cleaned out one of my junk drawers and successfully dumped most of it in the garbage. Except the stamps. I have a small collection of cancelled stamps. Many Canadian stamps are too pretty to throw out. I have two Paul Anka (Canadian) stamps I like, as well as stamps from around the world.
I am reluctant to part with my hoard. My 1953 Soviet stamp or my King Edward VII Canadian one cent stamp could be worth thousands of dollars. Or not. Stamps may soon be obsolete. That would make them even more valuable. What to do?
I am compromising. I will keep my King and Soviet stamps, just in case. I gave the rest of my stamps to a collector. The other option was to send stamps to Oxfam Canada’s Stamp Out Poverty project. The agency sells donated stamps to companies that make collector kits and uses the money for worthwhile projects. There are other charities that do the same and I’ve listed them below.
I can remember stamp collecting when I was a kid. It was a great way to learn about geography, history and current events. But in this age of emails and text messages, stamp collecting is becoming an old man’s hobby.
Canada Post is doing its part to keep this hobby alive and sells a ready-to-use Stamp Collecting Starter Kit for kids that includes an informative booklet, a pack of used stamps from all over the world, a stamp tong and a mini magnifying glass.
Collecting anything from stamps to salt and pepper shakers can bring pleasure and sometimes, but not usually, financial rewards. Just don’t let it get out of hand.
Used stamps can be sent to:
Stamp Out Poverty Project
39 McArthur Ave.
Ottawa, Ont., K1L 8L7
The Leprosy Mission Canada
100 Mural St., Suite 100
Richmond Hill, Ont., L4B 1J3
Development and Peace Stamp Project
1425 René-Lévesque Blvd. W.
Montreal, Que., H3G 1T7
Canada Bible Society
315 Lisgar St.
Ottawa, Ont., K2P 0E1